The Office of Inspector General issued a report this month documenting $17 million of waste by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).
NEW: DHS IG report finds ICE spent $17 million on a no-bid contract to house migrants in hotels that went largely unused last spring, wasting millions of $.
IG found ICE & the vendor also failed to adequately COVID test migrants, “putting outside population at risk.” @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/I5Wdf4qJFO
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 16, 2022
To deal with a migrant surge in March 2021, ICE awarded an $86.9 million dollar contract to Endeavors, a nonprofit, to provide housing and processing services to 1,200 migrants in Arizona and Texas.
The OIG report makes the following findings:
ICE did not adequately justify the need for the sole source contract to house migrant families and spent approximately $17 million for hotel space and services at six hotels that went largely unused between April and June 2021. ICE’s sole source contract with Endeavors resulted in millions of dollars being spent on unused hotel space. In addition, Endeavors did not meet new healthcare protocols or ensure proper COVID-19 testing for families. For example, families were not tested by ICE for COVID-19 prior to being transported to hotels and were not always tested by Endeavors staff upon arrival at or departure from hotels, putting migrant families and the outside population at risk of contracting COVID-19. Further, Endeavors did not follow required ICE standards to ensure the proper care for housing migrant families while such families were residing in its facilities.
ICE had historically relied on family detention centers to hold families in deportation proceedings. Under Biden’s administration, ICE priorities have shifted away from long term detention. ICE has been told to stop holding immigrants at county jails and to limit its use of detention centers.
CBS News has reported on the shift in priorities:
Departing from broader Trump-era deportation policies, the Biden administration has directed ICE agents to focus on arresting immigrants deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety, such as those convicted of serious crimes, as well as migrants who recently entered the U.S. illegally.
The policies effectively exempt undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. before November 2020 from arrest and deportation as long as they don’t commit serious crimes…
In addition to limiting ICE arrests, the Biden administration has expanded so-called alternatives to detention programs, which allow the agency to monitor, through ankle monitors or other means, immigrants who are not physically in its custody.
No wonder the US experienced a 22-year record high number of arrivals at the US-Mexico border last month.